Issue Briefs

THDA Issue Brief Series

THDA issue briefs are a series of short and informative research reports developed by the THDA Research and Planning Division. Covering a wide range of topics, these briefs provide an unbiased analysis of timely housing and housing affordability issues impacting the State of Tennessee and beyond.

  • Rural Rental Housing Issues: What the Data Tell Us [August 2019] This report seeks to better illuminate housing issues faced by rural Tennessee’s communities, particularly among renter households. Rural and urban Tennessee, when compared as two overall regions, have surprisingly similar data on rental affordability and availability. However, while there is value in comparing rural Tennessee as a whole to its urban counterparts, variation within rural Tennessee far outweighs the variation between rural and urban. There is no singular, monolithic set of housing needs shared by rural Tennessee counties.
  • Housing Indicators: Comparing Tennessee's Cities [June 2019] This report examines housing indicators within the second population tier of Tennessee's large cities. Among these five, Murfreesboro and Franklin appear consistently as high-growth, high-demand and high-income cities, distinct from the others in these categories. Johnson City is "renter friendly" with the lowest levels of rental cost burden, due to its relative balance of household incomes and rents. Clarksville and Jackson each have population increasing in tandem with housing unit increases.
  • Housing Indicators: Comparing Tennessee's Cities [May 2019] This report compares the housing markets of Tennessee's four largest cities. Nashville appears consistently as a high-growth, high-demand and high-income city, pulling away from the other three cities in these categories. Chattanooga stands out as having the lowest levels of housing cost burden, due to its relative balance of household incomes, property values, and rents. Knoxville and Memphis stand out as having the most affordable housing opportunities, particularly in the homeownership context.
  • Housing Supply: A Tennessee Snapshot [May 2019] Tennessee and its metro areas have avoided the most severe housing supply constraints seen elsewhere in the U.S., but are still facing challenges. This issue brief outlines these challenges and offers policy considerations for Tennessee’s communities.
  • Opioid Recovery & Affordable Housing [February 2019] As the opioid epidemic continues in Tennessee, this issue brief considers the role of housing. Securing a stable living environment free from addictive substances can be a serious obstacle to continued abstinence. As such, housing is a critical aspect of recovery, supporting re-entry into the community after completing substance abuse treatment. There are different recovery housing models; this issue brief outlines the scope of the opioid epidemic, efforts to combat this issue within Tennessee, and possible long-term housing solutions.
  • The CHNA Process & The Role of Housing Providers [May 2018] The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) is completed by not-for-profit hospitals every three years as a requirement for maintaining tax-exempt status. This brief seeks to highlight the Community Health Needs Assessments as a tool that can be used by housing and health professionals to address the policy intersections between the two. The results of this review suggest that housing organizations, especially those who serve low-income and minority populations, have an opportunity to benefit the CHNA process as key community stakeholders.
  • Transportation as a Key to Housing Affordability [February 2018] The distance between where people live and work is widening, leading to an increase in transportation expenses for many households, particularly those who work in metro areas. This aim of this brief is to demonstrate the importance of incorporating transportation costs when assessing housing affordability and will provide examples of tools and strategies that may be used to minimize combined housing and transportation cost burdens.
  • Housing Indicators in Tennessee [July 2017] Expanding on work done for Mayor Barry's Housing Nashville report, this issue brief identifies certain housing metrics which may help to illuminate both differences and parallels among Tennessee's four largest cities. Areas explored include population, housing stock, owner/renter occupancy, costs of housing, home sales, property values, vacant properties, and proximity of housing to employment. The report is intended to create a baseline comparison of the four major cities, and will be updated with future years of data to identify emerging trends going forward.
  • Housing Ideas for An Affordable Sevier County [February 2017] As Sevier County looks to rebuild after the November 2016 wildfire, there is an opportunity to be deliberate about maintaining and improving affordability for homeownership and rental housing in the area. Within this policy brief, housing creation strategies for moderate income households are explored. The brief includes solutions that have worked in other vacation destination spots.
  • Land Bank Issue Brief [July 2016] provides a cursory overview of the land banking model and explains the difference between land banks and land trusts. This brief also explores regional and national models as well as best practices in order to help local groups be successful in their land banking initiatives.
  • Affordable Housing for Teachers [February 2016] looks into the affordability of housing costs (both renting and owning) on the median teacher's salary in Tennessee statewide and in specific metropolitan areas, as well as exploring programs implemented in various states, cities and counties outside Tennessee to make housing costs more affordable to teachers.
  • Shared Equity Issue Brief [December 2015] explores the shared equity model, a growing trend in affordable housing designed to meet the needs of low-to-moderate income families who would not otherwise qualify for conventional mortgages due to insufficient income or assets.
  • Inclusionary Zoning Issue Brief [November 2015] provides an overview of the inclusionary zoning planning tool that incentivizes and/or requires real estate developers to set aside a percentage of units within newly constructed housing developments for low and middle income households.